Tag Archives: Brett Battles

What’s On My Plate – December 2014

On My Plate

It’s my last What’s On My Plate post of the year! Can you believe it’s already December? It’s the last month to squeeze in some 2014 books before the 2015 releases come out, and I hope to do just that. Here are the books I’m planning to read, but of course, things may change once I get going:-)

Books for review:

J by Howard Jacobson. I received this book from Blogging for Books, but haven’t had time to read it. This month for sure!

Rewinder by Brett Battles. Brett gave me a copy of his latest a couple of months ago, and I’m going to finally read it. He’s one of the only indie authors I will read these days:-)

War Stories: New Military Science Fiction, edited by Jaym Gates and Andrew Liptak. From the good folks at Apex, science fiction short stories with a war/military twist.

Clara’s Daughter by Meike Ziervogel. I have a couple of Salt Publishing titles that I’m behind on, so I’m going to try to crank them all out this month.

Severance by Chris Bucholz.  Here’s another Apex review book that sounds pretty good.

Golden Son (Red Rising Trilogy #2) by Pierce Brown. I requested an ARC of this book on a whim, not really expecting to get it. But I DID! You can bet this will be one of my December reads for sure, since the book comes out in early January.

Sausage Hall by Christina James. And yet another Salt title! Salt seems to mostly publish thriller/mysteries, which isn’t my normal book fare, but I’ve enjoyed each one I’ve read so far.

I will read this book or die trying:

Broken Monsters

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes. I keep reading rave reviews from both bloggers and authors alike, and I’m determined to read this before the clock strikes 2015!

Giveaways:

book review giveaway dec 14

I skipped last month, and so this month I’ll be giving away a book that I reviewed in October and November. You’ll have more to choose from, and guess what? I’m going to select TWO WINNERS this time:-) Come back on the 15th when the giveaway starts!

No other events planned at the moment, I guess this is mostly a catch-up month for me. Let me know what your blogging/reading plans are for December!

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Over-Booked (8) – A Book Haul Post

Over booked banner

Welcome to Over-Booked, my book haul post where I link up with Stacking the Shelves and The Sunday Post. Head on over to link up your own book haul post, or jump around and see what everyone’s got!  I have a smallish haul this week, which is good after my Comic Con haul last week, and I’m very excited about these books:

8-9 overbooked

The Golden City and The Seat of Magic by J. Kathleen Cheney. I was so excited when I found out I had won these beauties from The Bibliosanctum! This is one series I’ve heard nothing but good things about, and I’m anxious to start reading them. Thanks, Mogsy and Wendy!

Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone. I loved this third entry in Max’s series, and Tor was kind enough to send me a finished hardcover. Thanks Tor!

The Apex Book of World SF3 edited by Lavie Tidhar. I’ll be reading this anthology this month. Apex has never let me down, and I’m excited to read some diverse stories from all over the world. Thanks Apex!

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. I don’t usually read middle grade, but this looks like fun, and it’s pretty short. Thank you, Scholastic Press!

Edelweiss/NetGalley review titles:

Into Darkness (Night Prowler #6) by J.T. Geissinger. If you’ve been reading this blog at all, you know I’m one of J.T.’s biggest fans. This is the final book in her Night Prowler series—boo!! I know the author is probably ready to move on to something else, but I’m not! Big thanks to Montlake Press.

Black Dog by Caitlin Kittredge. Right after I featured this book on Waiting on Wednesday, I realized it was an Edelweiss title, and I was thrilled to be quickly approved. Thank you Harper Voyager!

Indie review titles:

rewinder-200

Rewinder by Brett Battles. Yeah, I know. I don’t review indies any more. But Brett and I, well, we go waaay back. And when he told me his latest is a suspense/time travel story, of course I said I would read it! I love his books, and he’s one indie writer that really knows how to do things right. I mean, check out the cover! It looks professional, right? (And it is. He does everything professionally.) I may not be able to squeeze this in this month, but next month for sure. Thanks Brett:-) And put this up on Goodreads, will ya?

That’s it for me. Let me know what goodies you acquired this week!

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What’s On My Plate – March 2013

On My PlateI can’t believe it’s March already…where is the time going? March is going to be a crazy month here on the blog. I’ve kind of over-committed myself again, and I’m still playing catch-up with my pile of indie’s. At least March has a few more days than February, which means I’ll probably be able to read more!

For Review:

Between Two ThornsBlack FeathersUnder Shifting GlassWhat Makes You DieStungThe Nightmare Affair

In addition to these March titles, I still have some February books that I didn’t get to. I hope to finish those up first.

Indie for Review:

CrashersPoe

Blog Tour:

The Devil's Triangle

My tour stop for this YA paranormal from Crescent Moon Press is March 8th. It’s had some great reviews on Goodreads, and I’m looking forward to reading it for myself.

Bookish Events:

Insomnia

Jenn was kind enough to send me a signed ARC of her YA debut Insomnia, and I can’t wait to review it and *weep* give away my copy! I’ll also have an interview with Jenn, so hopefully we can delve into the crazy mind that came up with this completely un-put-downable book:) Look for all this excitement, including your chance to win this ARC, on March 7th.

Bruised

I won an ARC of Bruised from A. G. Howard’s epic giveaway, and it comes out this month. So in addition to reading and reviewing it, I’m excited that Sarah lives in my neck of the woods and will be hosting her launch party on Saturday March 16 from 1-3 p.m. at the Valencia, CA Barnes & Noble! Yippee! I will be attending and purchasing a signed book to give away right here on Books, Bones & Buffy. Click here to read more about the launch party, and let me know if you’re planning on attending as well!

Wondercon

I’m excited to be attending my first WonderCon in Anaheim at the end of the month. WonderCon runs from March 29-31 at the Anaheim Convention Center, and you can still purchase tickets! From what I understand, WonderCon is a much smaller venue than Comic Con, and could be an option for people who weren’t able to get Comic Con badges. Click here to learn more about WonderCon.

Book Club:

mystery book

Our book club pick for March hasn’t been revealed yet, but I’ll update this as soon as I know!

Giveaway Hops:

Lunar Love HopFairy Tale Giveaway Hop

OK, so I’m cutting back on giveaway hops this month, but you still have a chance to win some awesome books from me. I’m not sure what the books are yet (!) but by the time the hops come around, I’ll have that all sorted out. Both hops are still open (as I write this) if you’d like to join in the fun! Click on the covers above to get more info.

So, it’s going to be a busy month, but full of great things too! Don’t forget to follow this blog via email (at the top of my sidebar) so you don’t miss anything.

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Tammy’s Top Ten Indie Books of 2012

Top Ten Tuesday2

Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my friends who are celebrating this day! At this moment I am probably opening presents with my family, including two very excited children (ages 12 and 13), but I wanted to post a Top Ten for The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday Freebie today. I read so many indie books this year, and I wanted to highlight my favorites.  In trying to narrow down the list, I came up with eleven titles, and I just couldn’t eliminate one, so my Top Ten is actually a Top Eleven:)  Here they are, in alphabetical order:

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1. A Dark Time by Dennis E. Bradford.  This unconventional murder mystery stood out for its atmospheric quality and stellar writing, not to mention some very interesting characters. You can read my review here.

2. The Accordo by Roberta L. Smith. This ghostly tale is filled with complex characters and carefully researched details that make for a page-turning story of revenge and terror. You can read my review here.

3. Auraria by Tim Westover. Technically, Auraria is not an indie, but the small and quirky Q&W Publishers fits into my definition of indie, so I wanted to add it to my list.  Westover’s imagery is evocative and magical, and this is one tale that needs to find more readers. You can read my review here.

4. The Destroyed by Brett Battles. Brett is such a prolific writer, I’m amazed that he can keep the quality of his writing at top form, book after book. But he manages to do just that, improving with every book he writes. The Destroyed is a Jonathan Quinn thriller, and one of my favorites. You can read my review here.

5. The Earthquake Machine by Mary Pauline Lowry. I loved this coming-of-age story about a young girl whose less-than-perfect life causes her to run away from home, chasing after a man who plays a big part in her awakening sexuality. It is filled with characters that you will grow to love, and Lowry’s writing is exquisite and spare, a perfect style for this unique tale. You can read my review here.

6. The Gateway to Hell by Ray Mileur.  I loved this thriller with strong characters and lots of police action. Mileur has created one of my favorite fictional characters in PI Mike Shannon, and I hope to read another story about him soon. You can read my review here.

7. The Jesuit Papers by A. B. Fowler. This story surprised me. From the cover I expected something more scholarly and dry, but it had romance, action and mystery, as well as an exotic setting, all elements that made The Jesuit Papers a winning story. You can read my review here.

8. The Messiah Matrix by Kenneth John Atchity. Carefully researched and full of dramatic action, this indie deals with a controversial subject matter, but Atchity keeps the action going and the reader will not be able to stop turning the pages. You can read my review here.

9. Murder Takes Time by Giacomo Giammatteo. This page-turner police procedural is unique for the relationships among its characters. Giammatteo jumps back and forth from present to past to tell the story of how some friendships can stand the test of time, and what happens to them when promises are broken. You can read my review here.

10. Realms of Gold: Ritual to Romance by Terry Stanfill. I love when authors go back to the past to add depth to a story that takes place in the present, and Stanfill does this wonderfully. This story is full of carefully researched details about archeology and was not only fascinating to read, but a delightful romance as well. You can read my review here.

11. Scars on the Face of God: The Devil’s Bible by C. G. Bauer. My first love is horror, and this book delivers it and then some. Bauer’s tale is well-paced and filled with creepiness, and its 1960s small town setting makes it even creepier. You can read my review here.

I’m looking forward to reading more indies in 2013!

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What’s On My Plate – November

Happy November everyone! Time flies when you’re reading books…I have another month of great things to read, and of course, not enough time to read them all. I also have a couple of exciting blog tours that I am participating in, as well as a few giveaways.  But first, there’s this little thing I’ve signed up for:

This is the second time I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo, and I have to say so far it’s easier the second time around. So far. However, with all the reading and writing I have to do this month, you really don’t want to come over to my house! Mopping and vacuuming are definitely going to take a back seat…

Here’s what else is on my plate:

For Review:

Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone. I’ve been trying to get to this for two months now. Sometimes a book just keeps getting pushed to the bottom of the pile, and for some reason, this is one of those books. Never fear! Three Parts Dead is the next book I’m reading, after I finish our October book club book (Yep, book club is also behind. We’re meeting in November to discuss the October book!)

Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch. This is also out already, but it’s a NetGalley approval so I’ll read it early in the month.

How Beauty Met The Beast by Jax Garren. Release date: November 19th. Received through NetGalley. As I’ve mentioned over and over, I’m going through a serious Beauty and the Beast phase. Can’t wait to read this!

Guardians of Stone by Anita Clenney. Release date: December 4th. I’m trying to get a jump on this since it releases at the beginning of December. I’m so excited to read another book from Amazon’s Montlake Romance!

Indie Books for Review:

Murder Takes Time by Giacomo Giammatteo. I can barely spell Giacomo’s last name, but I’m really looking forward to reading this murder mystery.

Royal Flush by Scott Bartlett. Scott will be giving away a copy of his book, so keep an eye out for my review and giveaway!

The Collected by Brett Battles. This is the sixth Jonathan Quinn book, and I’m pretty excited to read it.

Blog Tours:

Ghost Planet by Sharon Lynn Fisher. Next Tuesday I will have an interview with Sharon, an excerpt from the book, and a giveaway!

Passion Blue by Victoria Strauss. My blog tour stop is November 11th, and I will have an interview with Victoria and a giveaway! (I love giveaways, can you tell?)

I loved both books, and I’m super excited to be part of their blog tours.

I’m not even going to list the books I hope I’ll have time for. But next week Days of Blood & Starlight comes out, a book I’m over-the-moon excited to read, so if I add anything extra, it will be this. I hope you read some great books this month!

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Stacking the Shelves #9

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and is a way to share the books you’ve acquired over the past week with other bloggers. This week I received a mixed bag of goodies: a couple of indie books to review next month, two purchases, and an approval from NetGalley that I’m very excited about:

For Review:

Broken by A. E. Rought. Release date: January 8 2013 (Strange Chemistry). This retelling of Shelley’s Frankenstein sounds so creepy! I’ve been wanting to read a Strange Chemistry title for a while now, and I’m excited to start with this one.

The Collected by Brett Battles. Now available. Brett’s Jonathan Quinn series is my very favorite of all his many self-published books, and this is the sixth of Quinn’s stories.

Royal Flush by Scott Bartlett. Now available. OK, to be honest, I would normally say “no” to a book with a toilet on the cover. Eew. However, when Scott asked me to review his self-published book about a King looking for romance, I decided to take a chance. Other reviewers are calling this book “hilarious,” “unexpected,” “bizarre,” and “corny.” At only 200 pages, I’m going to risk ridicule and review a book with a punny title. (sorry!)

Purchased:

The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling. My mom is reading this right now, and even though our tastes in reading material don’t always match up, she said she can’t put this book down. I admire the way J. K. Rowling has written something completely different for adults and isn’t afraid to try something new.

Your House Is On Fire, Your Children All Gone by Stefan Kiesbye. This short book is compared to Stephen King’s Children of the Corn and is a coming-of-age tale set in a village with a dark secret. I don’t know a lot about this author, but I love the spooky-looking kid on the cover, plus there is a hidden message that can only be seen if you hold the book in your hands and tilt it!

What goodies did you get this week?

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PALE HORSE by Brett Battles – Review

Pale Horse is the third book in the Project Eden series, an exciting, edge-of-your-seat kind of story about biological warfare and what could happen if one powerful group of people decided to annihilate 99% of humanity by releasing a deadly flu virus into the population. When I started reading this installment, I figured it was going to be the final book and would wrap everything up at the end. Pale Horse, however, is not the end, although I wish it had been. There is a lot to enjoy about the book, but as a part of the whole Project Eden experience,  it fell flat in some ways. It’s hard to review this book without giving the story away, so I’m afraid I will have to invoke these dreaded words: Warning: This Review Contains Spoilers!

At the end of Exit Nine, one of the characters was about to press a computer key and unleash hell on earth. Pale Horse picks up at that moment, but Battles cuts away to another storyline and makes the reader wait a while for the outcome. It worked as a device for keeping the suspense high, but it was only the first of many frustrating moments for me. Battles uses the same formatting as the previous two books by jumping from character to character in order to give an overall picture of what’s happening around the globe. I quite like this style, and I think it works really well for this type of suspenseful writing. Most of the characters carry over from Exit Nine,  but there are some new ones as well.

One of my favorite story lines takes place in India, and follows Sanjay and his girlfriend Kusum as they try desperately to rescue Kusum’s family. Sanjay is an employee of Pishon Chem, a company that is part of Project Eden and is making its workers spray the city with what they think is an anti-malarial spray, but is actually the Sage Flu virus. Sanjay has figured out the truth and has obtained some vaccine to protect himself and Kusum. But now Kusum wants to vaccinate her family as well, and their tension-filled journey through the flu-infested city streets to steal more vaccine was one of my favorite parts of the book.

Likewise, I enjoyed following the characters of the Resistance at their Montana ranch through some very suspenseful moments, especially Ash’s son Brandon who becomes trapped outside the compound after the rest of the Resistance members have barricaded themselves in a secret underground bunker.  Brandon is much more than a scared kid who has been separated from his family. He is resourceful, brave and determined to follow the survival teachings of his father and find a way back to his family before Project Eden can kill him. In one of the creepiest sections, he sneaks into a garage to find shelter for the night, but has a terrifying run-in with the old lady who lives there.

In large cities throughout the world, shipping containers that have been dropped off in strategic areas are mysteriously beginning to open up. It seems that Project Eden’s plan is finally coming together. Or is it? Battles stretches out the suspense in a maddening way, perhaps too well.  He keeps the reader guessing for almost 300 pages, but uses foreshadowing at the ends of chapters to suggest that the bad guys might be winning this game. (Example: “With a smile, she continued down the street, unaware that later that evening she would be cooking her last meal.”) I felt it was an intrusive device that took the storytelling away from the characters and put it back in the hands of the author.

The writing throughout the book is top-notch, but one writing choice in the last chapter of the book puzzled me. Battles switches from past to present tense, and it felt completely out-of-place. I’m sure he intended it to ramp up the suspense at the end, and usually using present tense is a good way to accomplish this. But Pale Horse was already suspenseful at this point, and I didn’t care for the change in tense.

Although filled with engaging characters and pulse-pounding excitement, I ultimately felt cheated by Pale Horse’s cliffhanger ending.  As part of a series, nothing much is resolved, and I didn’t have that satisfied feeling at the end that I look forward to when reading a book. But if you are a suspense junkie and enjoy being toyed with, you will love Pale Horse. And you won’t have to wait long for the next installment. Ashes, Book Four in the series, comes out this fall. Whether or not it will be the end of Project Eden, you’ll just have to wait and see.

Many thanks to the author for providing a review copy.

Tammy recommends reading the first two books in the Project Eden series first:

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What’s On My Plate – September

In an attempt to really organize my reading and reviewing schedule, I put before you the books I have lined up for September. The review list is a bit longer than I want it to be. I was hoping to squeeze in some “me” books, but that might have to wait for October.

For review:

Brett’s book has been bumped a few times. Sorry Brett! This time for reals it’s next in line!

Something Red, Incarnation and Boyfriend From Hell are all from Edelweiss, and all being released in September, so expect reviews on all three this month.

Breed came from Library Thing, and in order to keep winning books from them I must make sure I get a review up this month.

Reviews coming soon:

Realms of Gold review will be up later today. Thanks for waiting Chi-Li! And I’m finishing up Zach’s book today as well, and hope to have the review up tomorrow.

If I have time:

Three books that I’m dying to read, but just can’t seem to find time for.

Overall, it looks like a great month for reading! I hope you all have deliciously full plates as well:)

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Promises, Promises

We’re already six days into August, and I have a full plate of books to consume. I’m not sure what happened, but I’ve agreed to read and review a number of books this month, and I need to get cracking. Here’s what my brain feels like right now:

That’s right, overcrowded and confused! But what a great photo, right? Here are the books I’m promising to read and review this month, provided the stars align:

The Jesuit Papers by A. B. Fowler. I’m reading it right now and love it! Should be a quick read.

The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle. It comes out 8/21, so I want to read and review it before then.

Stealing Breath by Joanne Brothwell. Now available. This book from small publisher Crescent Moon Press looks fantastic!

Realms of Gold: Ritual to Romance by Terry Stanfill. Now available. My buddy Chi-Li, who has sent me some pretty awesome books to review, recently sent me this one.

Breed by Chase Novak. I just won this from Library Thing, and although I don’t actually have it yet, I hope to squeeze it into this month’s reviews.

CurbChek Reload by Zach Fortier. Sorry Zach! I’ve had this one a while and just keep putting it off. It’s not my usual genre, but I want to read it this month.

Pale Horse by Brett Battles. Now available. I’ve had this for a while too, and really want to check it off my list. It’s the final book in a very exciting series, so I’m looking forward to it.

I don’t know if I can read all these or not, but I’m certainly going to try. In addition to reading, I have my “other” life to attend to: two kids going back to school next week, my duties as PTA president at their middle school, trying to find a job, and keeping the dogs and hubby happy as much as possible! Let’s all take a deep breath…

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THE DESTROYED by Brett Battles – Review

One of Battle’s most popular characters is at it again, the intrepid and satisfyingly complicated Jonathan Quinn, cleaner extraordinaire. This is the sixth Jonathan Quinn novel, and they just keep getting better and better.  The Destroyed may be my favorite of Brett’s books to date, as it combines highly entertaining and suspenseful action with truly interesting and human characters. Add a healthy dose of unexpected humor and you have a successful combination that should please just about any reader.

Since the demise of a close friend in the last book (The Silenced), Quinn has been living a peaceful and introspective life in Thailand and distancing himself from his highly dangerous job as a cleaner. But when a girl from the past resurfaces and once again becomes the target of a powerful group of people, Quinn realizes he has no choice but to get back in the game and help her out. Mila Voss was a courier six years ago when she witnessed and video-taped something she wasn’t supposed to see, and soon after was scheduled to be eliminated. As luck would have it, Quinn was assigned to do her clean-up, and when he is told the name of the target before the job goes down and realizes who it is, he sets up an elaborate and dangerous plot to save Mila, fake her death, and change her identity so she can live out the rest of her life free of danger. In alternating flashback scenes the reader is slowly given the details of her rescue, after which Quinn grimly informs her that the life she knew is now over.  If she ever comes out of hiding she’ll risk everything Quinn did to help her.  But six years later Mila discovers something about one of the men who wanted her dead, and she can’t stay hidden any longer.

Nate, Quinn’s diligent apprentice, who has been carrying on Quinn’s work and even using his name, arrives unannounced in Thailand to ask Quinn to help track down Mila, who has been spotted alive on a video camera in Tanzania. Joined by Quinn’s Thai friend Daeng, the three begin their mission to locate and save Mila in what turns out to be a globe-hopping cat-and-mouse game of epic proportions.  Quinn’s sometime-girlfriend Orlando also shows up to help, and even Quinn’s former boss Peter, from The Office (if you’ve read the other Quinn books you’ll understand that reference), makes an appearance. There are twists and turns galore as the Quinn and the gang hatch a complicated scheme to bring down the men who would kill Mila, and save another innocent in the process.

Battles tempers the many exciting action scenes with some real in-depth character development and shows us the underlying emotional relationships between Quinn and Nate, Quinn and Orlando, and Mila and her erstwhile love Julien, described in flashbacks.  We even see a burgeoning friendship begin to develop between Nate and Daeng, whose first meeting is rocky. Quinn is still the best drawn character, in my opinion, and Battles lets him grown and change with each book, which is one sign of a good writer. All the characters in Quinn’s world make the occasional mistake and remind us that even spies are human. I also found The Destroyed to have the most humor of the Quinn books.  There were many memorable lines and lots of bantering between characters, especially Quinn and Orlando, whose relationship is anything but smooth sailing.

Battles switches back and forth from the past to the present in order to paint the entire picture of Mila’s near-assassination and what exactly it was that she saw that landed her in so much trouble. The device of slowly doling out information to the reader works well, and although it was sometimes frustrating to have the characters talking to each other on the phone without sharing their plans, it made for a tension-filled story that makes the reader want to keep reading.

You don’t need to read the other Quinn books first to appreciate the great story-telling in The Destroyed, but if you haven’t read them, you’ll want to go back and catch up after finishing this one. Although I won’t reveal the ending here, I will tell you that Nate and Daeng will hopefully be major players in Quinn’s next chapter. The last lines of the story are perfect, yet another reason Battles is at the top of his game.

Many thanks to the author for providing a review copy.

You can purchase The Destroyed here.

Add The Destroyed to your Goodreads books here.

More Brett Battles reviews:

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